The death of political moderation.
So I have for a long time been a conservative-leaning moderate and a registered Republican.
But the last couple of years have found me watching many of my moderate friends sliding down to one side or the other.
And I hate to make these sides seem like a nice, fair, even choice between two equally respectable sides.
To be quite clear: It isn’t.
And the fact that I have to even say that is what is so appalling.
There have been times in the past when a candidate or person who is, generally, an ok human, has some small lie exposed, and whoever opposes this person’s agenda blows it all WAY out of proportion. Sometimes I’ve been the side doing it, and other times I’ve been the one going, “Guys, it’s just one incident, no need to crucify a person, he apologized”, or what have you.
What I didn’t expect was that a truly evil person could abuse this societal tendency to truly deceive a LOT of people.
The key is to go ALL IN on being really awful. Just go over the top with it. Here’s how it worked:
Doing and saying so many awful things and lies, as you might expect, makes a lot of people RIGHTFULLY attack him for doing those things.
But then he just claims to be the victim who is “being attacked” and just denies that he did or said any of those awful things. OR, just imagines that those things aren’t false or bad, and repeats the victim narrative again.
The problem with this method is that it removes the idea of political moderation from the table of options. Your options are now:
Be completely duped that the person in question is an innocent and good person, just trying to gain authoritarian rule of a country and make it as close a monarchy as possible, as any good person would. Anyone who doesn’t stand with you is part of an evil plan to attack this innocent person and you will attack those evil people trying to attack a human saint just trying to make America white again.
See the awful things and lies and crimes as actual lies and awful things and crimes, at which point you diametrically oppose yourself to this clearly evil person.
You could do neither of the above options, but that puts you a state of apathy, not one of moderation.
So I find myself siding these days more with people who DO see evil for evil. People who do not buy the whole “Everyone is just unfairly attacking me just for trying to be a good person” act.
The crazy thing is, it’s not necessarily that I am politically aligned with that side on all things. Like I said, I’m a moderate who probably leans more conservative than liberal.
I drive an SUV to work every day.
I hate when the city makes it harder for people who drive to get around in the city.
I truly don’t believe that crazy theory that more lanes would make the traffic worse. Don’t @ me.
I have this crazy idea that we should reduce the national debt and probably make some big budget cuts to do that.
I believe in free speech and that includes having college be a place where you’re exposed to thoughts and ideas that might make you cry and think.
I have a love/hate relationship with new commercial development on what was untouched woods.
I believe that being offended is not grounds for enacting new laws.
I believe that our law enforcement officers are not paid nearly enough for the work they do and risks they take every day to serve and protect.
I also believe they should all be wearing body cams and, if applicable, convicted of murder.
I also believe that sexual assault is not an OK thing.
I also believe that multiple, even somewhat credible claims of sexual assault make a person unfit for the presidency, and certainly the Supreme Court.
I believe that people who blatantly disregard what truth is on a regular basis should not be trusted to lead.
I believe that racism has never NOT been a problem in our country, statistically. Anecdotally, I’m sure there plenty of people who would say it’s not a problem. Most of those people are white, and have no clue what they’re talking about.
So here I am, awkwardly in the middle, trying to do my best to be moderate, but not seen as apathetic.
Instead of being seen as moderate, most often, I end up being corrected/yelled at/attacked for the areas that I’m mistaken/wrong on, which are, of course, just the areas I don’t think exactly how *you* do about.
It’s pretty exhausting.